Gary Larson - Offensive?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Johnny Angell, Feb 11, 2007.

  1. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    I decided to read some of my "Complete Far Side" today. In a brilliant move it was decided to include letters to the editor from offended readers, when the cartoon was originally published.

    It continues to floor me how little sense of humor some people have. The most famous example being that of the cartoon that mentions Jane Goodall. A big mucky muck in her Institute was offended and wrote a letter. Later the National Geographic wanted to include the cartoon (they've got a sense of humor) in an anniversary issue and the Larson syndicate says better not, Jane doesn't like it. Well, the NG knows better and it turns out she's a fan of the strip and that particular cartoon is a favorite of hers.

    What happens to me often when reading Larson's stuff, is either it falls flat, or I don't get it. I credit that to the fact that Larson is often working with out a net, he's really out there and to the fact that I just don't get it. Just because I don't get it, doesn't mean there's not a good joke there. After encountering a mystifying on non-funny one (for me) cartoon, the next one will almost crack my ribs with laughter.

    Were you ever truly offended by a Gary Larson cartoon?

    Here's an example of one I don't get. On page 141 of volume 2, there a cartoon of two explorers paddling away with a giant gem stolen from a native idol. The natives are rushing to their canoes to catch them. The caption is "In the quiet of the early dawn, before the village had awakened, Frank and Vern removed the fire god's emerald eye and fled the island--not calculating how soon the inhabitants would notice their defiled temple." There's a joke in there, but I don't see it.

    An example of how hit and miss his humor can be is illustrated by this: I've bookmarked some of the pages so I can scan a particular cartoon for wallpaper on my pc. Not for distribution of course, and I've not gotten around to doing it yet. On this reading, I found one bookmark and I looked on the page for the cartoon that really caught my eye. There wasn't one there that stood out for me, so I removed the bookmark. Previously though, one had really impressed me.

    Besides the Goodall cartoon, another favorite is the caveman lecturer pointing to an illustration of a nasty set of spikes on a dino's tale and he says "...and this is called the Thagomizer, named after the late Thag Simmons." I may have got the caption wrong, doing it from memory. I bust a gut over that one.
     
  2. ScottCarr

    ScottCarr Second Unit

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    The basis of Humor is humility, embarassment, insult and basically being offensive to something, someone or some event. Humor is a twist on reality or status quo.

    The Farside, of course it was offensive to some. That is what makes it funny.
    Was I ever offended, I don't recall but if there was ever a cartoon that offended me. If one did, I know I never needed therapy to get over it.
     
  3. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    I think the joke is that it would be pretty obvious the natives would miss their idol's eye. The thing is freakin' huge. [​IMG]
     
  4. Michael Harris

    Michael Harris Screenwriter

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    I never found anything offensive in Larson's work. One of my favorites was a picture of some vultures boarding a plane at an airport holding some dead animals and being told by the boarding agent that they were limited to just one carrion. [​IMG]

    Gotta love those bad puns.

    BTW, I just remembered the Goodall cartoon and I laughed just thinking of it.
     
  5. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    I love Gary Larson's work, and can never recall being offended.

    A couple of favorites:

    1. Some dinosaurs are gathered behind a rock smoking cigarettes, and the caption reads "The real reason dinosaurs became extinct".

    2. A caveman is peering in a hole while another stands next to the hole. The one peering says "ug, this not be cheap". The caption reads, "Prehistoric plummer".

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    I liked the Floating Head of Death and the eskimos who found the aliens' appearance to be bizarre, since they had never seen a cactus. I also think I remember one about a time traveler dropping a Coke bottle back in time while saying something like, "Let them figure THAT out."
     
  7. Bryan X

    Bryan X Producer

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    I liked the one with a couple scientists working on a nuclear bomb with another scientist behind them about to pop a paper bag to scare them.
     
  8. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    That reminds me, I need to go pick up a set of "The Complete Far Side" before it goes OOP.

    I remember the Goodall incident as well, and the fact that she herself loved it (IIRC she had T-shirts made up with it?) goes to show how some other humourless types claim offence, when the only person who really had a right to be offended, wasn't at all.
     
  9. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    I'm surprised no one has mentioned the most famous Far Side comic ever!

    Removed at request of Mr. Larson.
     
  10. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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  11. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    Thanks Johnny, it was nice to have a reason to pull one of those huge volumes off the shelf.


    As Dome pointed out, the village is 5 little straw huts and a HUGE idol, a cyclops with it's 3 foot diameter emerald eye....missing.

    If you have any questions about The Complete Calvin and Hobbes or The Yellow Kid, I'd be happy to look through those also. [​IMG]
     
  12. MikeH1

    MikeH1 Screenwriter

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    Image removed at request of Mr. Larson
     
  13. Linda Thompson

    Linda Thompson Supporting Actor

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    Two of my all-time favorites (paraphrased, from memory):

    1 - Husband chicken sick in bed, wife chicken brings in bowl of soup..."Don't worry - it wasn't anyone we knew."

    2 - Mother snail to child snail, who is clutching a huge salt shaker: "I told you not to run with that thing."

    Classics. [​IMG]
     
  14. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    I like the one with the old lady standing outside of a house at the bottom of a hill. She says "with a knick knack paddy whack, give a dog a bone", and the next panel shows a man rolling down the hill...
     
  15. Ravi K

    Ravi K Supporting Actor

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    I have the Prehistory of Far Side, which includes some letters to the editor. I can understand how people were offended by the cartoon where the cat is hanging outside (not hanged, but hanging) and a man inside the house is saying, "The dog ain't going for the new cat." It looks like they tied the cat up as bait for the dog. Even then the response was overblown. Like Larson said with one of the strips (maybe the Tethercat one), he's just making use of the oft-depicted animosity between dogs and cats.

    My favorite incident is the Cow Tools one, where people were baffled at what I thought was a rather simple cartoon.

    If people were offended at The Far Side, they should see Perry Bible Fellowship!
     
  16. Radioman970

    Radioman970 Lead Actor

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    One of my all time favorites is set in a laundry room, a dog is hiding behind a dryer after placing a hand-written (erm, paw-written?) "CAT FUD" sign pointing inside the dryer and a cat is entering the room. Certainly the funniest thing about the joke is the dog can't spell. [​IMG]























    OT, I find Close to Home funnier than Far Side. :p [​IMG]
     
  17. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    Ok, my favorite was the one with the group of cavemen carrying a HUGE carrot on their shoulders with the caption "Early vegetarians returning from the kill."


    I thought he actually explained this one (he didn't usually defend his strips) by saying it wasn't intended to be interpretted as the humans had put the cat there.
     
  18. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    "It continues to floor me how little sense of humor some people have"

    Me too. People need to lighten up.


    "I never found anything offensive in Larson's work"

    When I first came across this I thought there might has been someone else named Gary Larson besides the cartoonist. I thought he was brilliant and NOTHING Ive ever read in the Far Side was ever offensive or even mean spirited.

    Which I think is the key. Mel Brooks made a career out making fun of people. He picked on everyone, himself included. Look at In Living Color, which thrived on making fun of stereotypes and was hysterical the first few years. Neither was ever done in mean spirited way.

    All the Far Sides were funny, but the one that always sticks out in my mind was Boneless Chicken Ranch
     
  19. Chris Gerhard

    Chris Gerhard Screenwriter

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    I never read paper comic strips and missed the strips that way but have seen many of them on desk calendars. I love the strips. Another favorite shows a few penguins sitting on an iceberg with a polar bear in a penguin disguise and one of the penguins asks if anybody has seen (a name, obviously one of their penguin friends)? I would assume any penguins that can read would be offended.

    Chris
     
  20. Paul Bond

    Paul Bond Stunt Coordinator

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    One of my favorites was (from memory) the basic cartoon African village with three natives standing together and another walking toward them. The line was something like "Now here comes Mubambwa. He can't sleep either."

    I mulled over that for for a couple of days before it finally hit me.


    The natives are restless!!!


    Bond. Paul Bond.
     

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